Interesting and Relevant Articles on HIPAA
November 20, 2023 - St. Joseph’s Medical Center provided a national media outlet access to COVID-19 patients’ protected health information.
August 24, 2023 - The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a settlement with UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company (“UHIC”), a health insurer that provides insurance coverage to millions of individuals across the U.S., concerning a potential violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule's right of access provision.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a comprehensive federal law in the United States that addresses health insurance coverage for individuals, particularly in situations involving job changes or loss. In addition to the insurance aspects, it includes provisions to safeguard the privacy and security of patients' health information.
One of the original primary objectives for passing HIPAA was to ensure that employees who are between jobs have unbroken access to health care. While this remains an important part of the health care field, the more far-reaching objective for passing HIPAA––and the one more people are familiar with––was to prevent fraud by keeping personal health information safe and secure.
Covered entities must comply with HIPAA and include the following Health Care Providers, Health Plans, Health Care Clearing Houses and Business Associates
HIPAA is designed to protect sensitive personal health information (PHI) from unauthorized use, disclosure, or sharing without the patient's consent. The regulations set by HIPAA apply to various forms of communication, whether it's electronic, oral, or in hardcopy.
HIPAA compliance goes beyond just adhering to the specific rules and regulations outlined in HIPAA; it involves creating a broader culture within healthcare organizations that prioritizes the privacy and security of personal health information (PHI). This cultural approach ensures that the protection of PHI becomes ingrained in the organization's values and practices.
The Privacy Rule is a critical component of HIPAA that establishes standards for the protection of patients' personal health information (PHI). Its primary goal is to strike a balance between maintaining the privacy and security of PHI and allowing for the necessary sharing of information to ensure the quality of care.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule complements the HIPAA Privacy Rule by establishing standards for the protection of electronic protected health information (ePHI). The Security Rule applies to covered entities and their business associates and sets forth specific safeguards that must be implemented to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic health information.
In simple terms, a HIPAA violation is failure to comply with the requirements of the HIPAA standards. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the HIPAA violations that most commonly appear in complaints are given in order of frequency as follows: